The hard part about writing News You Can Use isn't finding the solution; it's proving there's a problem to be solved. Consider today's Times, wherein dining reporter Julia Moskin has a nice Thanksgiving Eve article (accompanied online by a thrilling instructional video) about a new low-stress, expert-approved way to carve up your turkey. But is the old hack-and-slice regime really so problematic? Yes. "Before breakfast on Thanksgiving," begins Moskin's tale, "as the first Americans rise to preheat the oven, the question of who is going to carve the bird starts to ripple anxiously across the land." This being journalism (of sorts), the burden of proof requires at least some civilian testimony, which is where things take a decided turn toward the gothic.
By mealtime, many cooks will be tired of hovering over the turkey and ready to unload it, but just try to find a taker.
"One year my 13-year-old nephew, Josh, was the only one willing to take it on," said Nissa Goldstein, a retired teacher in West Hartford, Conn. "Of course, everyone was shouting instructions at him, and he ended up locking himself in his room and refusing to come out."
Of course. Who hasn't experienced an adolescent nervous breakdown over poultry?
But Josh isn't alone; the turkey terror lurks everywhere! "One year the turkey took a long time to cook and I went to carve it after about 13 beers," said Maurice Landry, who lives near Lake Charles, LA. "The way I remember it, I bore down to take off the leg and the whole thing went shooting off the platter and knocked over the centerpiece." Indeed, why wield a knife at all if you aren't a little bit buzzed?
With the proof of a problem's existence established rather indisputably by just two "One year..." recollections, Moskin moves on to the meat of her story. The Goldsteins and Landrys aren't heard from again—which makes one wonder: how exactly were these folks from "West Hartford" and "Lake Charles" identified as prime sources on holidays hysteria? And who's making sure they stay in treatment for good this time?
Butcher's Method Takes Carving Off the Table [NYT]